The ketogenic diet’s popularity increased significantly over the past few years. First used as a treatment in drug-resistant children with epilepsy, it quickly became the go-to diet for those who are battling obesity and want to lose weight. Aside from a long list of health benefits such as increased cognitive performance, better memory function and elevated energy, the ketogenic diet is also therapeutic for those with several medical disorders.
To follow the diet, you have to restrict the amount of carbohydrates you consume and increase healthy fats. We know this may be counter-intuitive to the nutritional recommendations you have been listening to for years, however, several studies show that high-fat, low-carb diets have a better outcome on those who want to lose weight and improve their well-being in comparison to low-fat diets.
In this article, you will read about the ketogenic diet in comparison to other popular, seemingly similar diets such as the Atkins diet, Dukan diet and Paleo diet.
Keto vs. The Atkins Diet
General Idea: Atkins is one of the most popular low-carb diets in the world. Similarly to the ketogenic diet, they both favor a restriction in carbohydrates and elimination of sugars, such as sweet drinks, cookies, cakes and starches, including bread, grains, pasta, rice and potatoes. The Atkins Diet has four main phases:
Phase 1 (Induction): During this phase, you are allowed to eat 20-25g of net carbs per day until you are about 15 pounds away from your goal weight.
Phase 2: In this second phase, you are slowly consuming more carbohydrates (about 20-50g net carbs per day) until you are 10 pounds away from you goal.
Phase 3: This phase allows for 50-80g net carbs per day until you are at your goal weight and can maintain it for at least one month.
Phase 4: This is the final phase, which allows you to consume 80-100g of net carbs per day to maintain your weight loss.
Similarities: Both diets are low-carb and high-fat, with a moderate amount of protein. Also, your body may be producing ketones in the first phase of the Atkins diet.
Differences: After you lost the amount of weight you want, Atkins allows you to increase your carbohydrate intake and therefore indulge in a larger variety of foods. Alternatively, one of the main ideas of the ketogenic diet is to get you in a state of ketosis. This means your body’s metabolism will shift from using glucose as a source of energy to fat. While this may happen in the beginning of the Atkins diet, especially in its first phase, ketosis is not a goal in Atkins. Because of this you may miss out on the benefits of ketosis such as increased energy, mental clarity and improved well-being.
Keto vs. The Dukan Diet
General idea: The Dukan Diet is a low-carbohydrate, high-protein diet developed by a French physician in the 1970s as a weight-loss program. The diet includes four phases: Attack, Cruise, Consolidation and Stabilization, where each phase targets different goals in your weight-loss journey. On this diet, you have to reduce your carbohydrate intake, increase protein and reduce the amounts of fat consumed. This is based around the idea that protein is the most satiating macronutrient and will keep you full for a longer amount of time. The Dukan Diet has four phases:
Attack: The first phase lasts for about two to seven days, where you can eat an unlimited amount of lean protein such as chicken breasts, lean beef, seafood and eggs. In addition, you would eat 1.5 tbsp of oat bran per day.
Cruise: This phase begins shortly after the first phase and lasts for about a year. Here, you are allowed to eat more vegetables and you would increase your oat bran intake to 2 tbsp daily.
Consolidation: This third phase begins once you hit your goal weight. You will eat food from earlier phases, slowly introducing other foods such as fruits, bread, starches and cheese. Also, you would increase oat bran to 2.5 tbsp daily.
Stabilization: This final phase lasts for as long as you want, with loosened rules as long as your weight is maintained.
Similarities: Both the ketogenic diet and the Dukan diet are low-carbohydrate approaches to nutrition and encourage eating healthy sources of protein.
Differences: In comparison to the ketogenic diet, Dukan’s philosophy is that fat is worse than carbohydrates, making it a low-fat diet. In order to increase energy, Dukan proposes that you should eat unlimited amounts of protein. While the first phase may cause your body to produce ketones, it simply isn’t enough to put you in a state of ketosis.
Keto vs. The Paleo Diet
General Idea: The main idea of the Paleo Diet is to eat the way our ancestors ate during the Stone Age, eliminating processed foods to reduce inflammation and aim towards weight loss. In this approach, you would eliminate foods such as dairy, grains, beans and legumes. As opposed to The Atkins Diet or The Dukan Diet, there is no phases you have to go through to follow the diet. A person following The Paleo Diet can have all the vegetables they desire, as well as fruit - while still focusing more on those that are lower in their sugar content. Fun fact: There are many people who are both keto and paleo, enjoying the benefits of ketosis and remaining lactose-free.
Similarities: Both diets encourage the consumption of healthy fats, such as grass-fed meats, almond oil, nut oils, butter, coconut oil and avocados. Also, in both dietary approaches you are to eliminate processed foods and sugars, as well as adapt to a low-carb lifestyle
Differences: The Paleo Diet excludes all processed meats such as bacon and ham, and does not allow dairy - which is a type of food highly allowed on the ketogenic diet. Also, keto is lenient towards foods like bacon and cold cuds as long as they are not processed heavily and do not contain sugar. While The Paleo Diet is low-carb, it does not put you in a state of ketosis because there is no specific macronutrient intake you should follow.
Depending on your goals, different diets may be more suitable to you and your lifestyle. Whether you want to go on a diet in order to lose weight or to change your health will be a deciding factor if your new eating habits will turn into a lifestyle.
None of the above mentioned diets are able to put you in a state of ketosis - this is something only the ketogenic diet can do. Even though some low-carb dietary approaches may at first produce an increased amount of ketone bodies, the ketogenic diet is the only road to achieve nutritional ketosis.
10 Health Benefits of the Ketogenic Diet
You may have already read about the benefits of keto and how it can improve your daily life and health. While some researchers think high-fat, low-carb, ketogenic lifestyle change is just another trendy diet, there is an abundance of research that suggests otherwise.
The ketogenic diet (keto) is a very low-carb and high-fat diet. The primary goal of the ketogenic diet is to put you in a state of ketosis, which shifts your metabolism to burning fat as fuel and energy instead of glucose.
Although the name may suggest it, the “keto flu” is not a real illness and it has nothing to do with the regular flu. The only reason for the name is perhaps the way you may feel while your body transitions from using glucose as a source of energy to using fat and ketones. This is a result of reducing your carbohydrate intake significantly.